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Sun.Star Pampanga May 10, 2005

Malig: Demise of an Outstanding Kapampangan

By Jun A. Malig

On May 17, 1954, after four months of negotiations, he surrendered to Manila Times reporter Benigno Aquino Jr., emissary of the late President Ramon Magsaysay. He was brought to court and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

KAPAMPANGAN leaders have felt a sense of loss with the passing away on May 4 of 91-year-old former Huk supreme leader Luis Taruc, who was honored as the Most Outstanding Kapampangan for Social Justice in 2001. He died of heart failure while confined at the St. Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City, where family members brought him after suffering heart attack on May 1. Known to many as Ka Luis, the former chief of the Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon (Hukbalahap) would have turned 92 on June 21. He was born in 1913 in the agricultural town of San Luis in Pampanga.

San Fernando City Mayor Oscar Rodriguez said he was deeply saddened by the demise of Ka Luis. "He was a pillar in the struggle for the interests of the poor people. He was a pride of the Kapampangans. The legacy he has left was definitely imprinted in the consciousness not only of the Pampangueños but also of the entire Filipino race. We join the nation on the bereavement of Ka Luis' family. We just do hope that in the history of the nation the name of Ka Luis Taruc will not be forgotten," he told this columnist.

Pampanga Governor Mark Lapid said Pampangueños have high respect for Ka Luis. "We, the Kapampangans pay our respects to the late Ka Luis Taruc, the father of social reforms and a great pillar of Philippine socialism. As one of the great Kapampangans, his name will remain in our hearts and consciousness forever. For Ka Luis, our utmost tribute and respect," he said.

Mabalacat Mayor Marino Morales said the former communist rebel will not be forgotten by his province mates. "Ka Luis Taruc's demise is a great loss to the nation. He had genuine love and concern for his country. He was a great leader of the masses and the working class. We mourn his death and we will always remember him," he said.

Pampanga Vice Governor Joseller Guiao, son of the late governor Bren Guiao, said Ka Luis' death was a great loss to the province. "His demise was a great loss to the Pampangos. His courage, integrity and intelligence helped shape the character and history of the guerilla movement. I am an avid admirer of his work," he said.

Ka Luis was the "supremo" of the communist group Hukbalahap from 1942 to 1954. The group was renamed to Hukbong Magpapalaya ng Bayan (HMB) in 1948. On May 17, 1954, after four months of negotiations, he surrendered to Manila Times reporter Benigno Aquino Jr., emissary of the late President Ramon Magsaysay, He was brought to court and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

After studying in Manila in 1934, Ka Luis became involved in the case of the landless poor families. He joined the Partido Komnista ng Pilipinas in 1935. When he returned to the mountains of Central Luzon after World War II, Ka Luis was able to strengthen the communist movement through the support of the peasants and the poor people. At the height of rebellion, Hukbalahap was able to reach a fighting strength of 10,000 to 15,000 that harassed the some 40,000 government soldiers. Of the total government forces, 24,000 belonged to the Constabulary, the unit tasked to deal with the Huk problem.

The Huks became serious threat to the new Philippine Republic. The movement was well organized under the able leadership of Ka Luis. He was the dominating personality of the Huk insurgency. The Philippine Republic needed the US's full support in dealing with the Huks. Both governments took necessary actions to counter the rapidly spreading revolution. The HMB's strength diminished significantly after the surrender of Ka Luis.

In the 1984 thesis of one Lieutenant Colonel Remigino Gojo posted at the GlobalSecurity.org, he said the only way to defeat insurgency is for the government and its armed forces is "to have the trust and confidence of the citizenry."

 


Copyright 2005, Sun.Star Publishing, Inc.